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Is It the Season for After School Afternoons with a Kitchen Full Of Kids Doing Homework and Eating Snacks? Not in the Empty Nest

By Natalie Caine, M.A.
NABBW’s Associate for Empty Nest

natalie caine colorBack to school is already happening.  Parents are checking the lists and encouraging their children\’s hearts, saying, “All will be fine, it is going to be a fantastic year.”

Then there is you, Mom and Dad.  I remember when I dropped my daughter off at college, three thousand miles from home.

I knew I would be fine and I knew I would be sad.

I did not know what I wanted to do with the free time nor with the longing for the phone to ring with her on the other end.  Sure texts were a connection, but there is nothing like the sound of your child\’s voice.

I remember in our support group, how we shared, that if our kids were happy, it made our day.  We wished that weren\’t true, but in the beginning, their feelings affected our day.  Fortunately, that shifted.

Kitchen full of kids.  Don\’t you just love those memories of them and their friends popping in and that somehow you had something for them to eat.  Well, that will happen, again.  It is not over.

What is shifting is your role as parents.  You are no longer the leader with your kids.  THEY LEAD NOW.  When you can accept that, even if you don\’t like it, you won\’t suffer resentment as much.  Your expectations will be more in reality.

They just aren\’t going to call you every Sunday at 8.  When you were their ages, you wouldn\’t have wanted to have to follow a schedule either.  Life happens for them. You want them to manage their life, more and more.

It isn\’t easy letting go.  It will happen, though.  New passions grab your attention and then arrives new meaning beyond parenting.

This is your time to focus on you.  You don\’t have to know for sure what\’s next.  You will simply feel better by asking yourself, throughout your week:

  • What matters to me now?

    Reconnecting Through Art

    Reconnecting Through Art

  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • Who do I want to spend more time with and less time with?
  • What did I used to like to do when I wasn\’t Mom or Dad?
  • Do I just need time to do nothing?
  • How am I feeling and what have I been thinking about? What do I need and how can I receive that?
  • Getting to know more about you, is a good thing, when it comes to transitions.  You are not being selfish by focusing on you now.

Here\’s a quick story of something fun I when my kids were gone:

kids in kitchenI love cooking. It is creative for me and relaxing.  I also like being with kids.  So, I invited a group of kids to come over on Wednesdays to cook with me. One boy, who aspired to be a chef when he grows up, actually took charge and taught these kids how to cook.

We all had a blast.

And the kids\’ moms? They were delighted to have a couple hours of free time!

You too will find your rhythm for what\’s next for you.  You will miss your kids being around and you will also love the new openness of your life.  There isn\’t a step-by-step manual to successfully living in this stage of life. It is a meandering.

Take good care,


Life In Transition, What\’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

Natalie Caine, M.A. has been featured in Time Magazine, USA Today, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, MariaShriver .com, Better Homes and Gardens, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Lifetime Radio for Women, Chicago Tribune, Sirius, Associated Press, Miami Herald, and many more.

Change is inevitable. Get Ready. Get Support. Life transitions need a hand to hold.


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Natalie Caine Founder of Empty Nest Support Services

Natalie Caine is the founder of Empty Nest Support Services. When her daughter was a senior in high school, she realized that as a soon-to-be “empty nester,” she would be undergoing a major life shift. Not wanting to confront this transition alone nor have her many friends face this abyss without strong support, she created a support services group, which quickly grew into a new career and an exciting full-time business.

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